A new pub company is expanding in a number of geographic areas thanks to rock-bottom purchase prices, writes Paul Charity. Witherspoon Holdings, based in Hanley, Staffordshire, has grown to 12 pubs in the past year alone. Its latest purchase is the Coach & Horses in Tunstall, Staffordshire, a previously boarded up pub. But it is now open and trading again, focusing on community trade and real ales such as Titanic. Dax Robateux, regional manager for the company and licensee of another of the company’s outlets, the Smithfield Bar & Restaurant in Hanley, said: “We have been able to expand thanks to the real bargains that there are out there at the moment. “We don’t have a specific style of trading, we work out what’s best for each pub according to its location.” The company has four pubs in Staffordshire and its trading area stretches north as far as Cumbria. Mark Greig, a spokesman for Paramount Investments, the London-based property agency which handled the sale of the Coach & Horses, said: “We have been saying for some time that there are some terrific opportunities out there for the right kind of licensee, and we are glad that Witherspoon Holdings seems to recognise this.” Paramount, reports strong interest in other pubs in the Staffordshire area, including the King William IV in High Street, Talke Pitts and the Miners Arms in King Street, Fenton. “But it isn’t just a local phenomenon,” added Greig. “Witherspoon is buying pubs all over the north, and we are getting interest in some very attractive, historical and even listed pubs up and down the country which are currently not trading. “We have also noticed a mild upturn in sales - we have sold 13 pubs so far this month. It’s too early to talk about a full-scale recovery but it might mean things are turning the corner.”

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